As in software that’s licensed under a open source copyleft license, but costs money to run that’s beyond an optional request for a donation. I can see this happening with libre hardware since it still costs money to manufacture even if the design is free, but with software, wouldn’t someone immediately fork the project to remove the payment requirement?

Most open source apps that have a cost I’ve run across usually have the option of building it yourself for free. But if you want prepackaged with support you pay.

Yeah, most FOSS companies also offer their specific platform for their software for a price. Depending on the complexity of self-hosting it can be much cheaper to just buy access to the platform

Additionally, the source code of free software only needs to be released to your users, not necessarily the general public. This means that if you have a niche client who doesn’t want to write their own software, it can be a steady income stream, and you can set it up so they have to be a customer to be an initial user


From what I remember, the FSF has nothing against selling your product, it’s the source code which has to be available.

In other words, you can sell a free software, yet users can pool together the resources to buy your product and install it multiple times, or they can even just get the source and compile it, and even redistribute it


If you mean « a software that you can’t run but for which you have the code source (and can distribue and modify it) », I don’t think it can exist.

However, as already said, hosting or/and support by the developers have costs. Asking for updates or new features can also have costs.

Sometimes, the binary is not distributed for free by the developers on their website and you have to pay for it. For example I came across zrythm that seems to adopt this model : you can build it from source, but there is no way to download a full version from the website without paying. I think it is the closest to « free as in freedom but not as in beer » that I saw.


ElementaryOS is some kind of an example, you can get the source code, but they ask you to pay (it’s not mandatory though and you can get everything for free) to get the ISO file.

Other examples would be Ardour and Fritzing, both have source code available for free, but not their binaries. So if you want to have it for free, you have to pay with time of compiling :p

Threema is free software but requires a paid license to use it with their network. In this case the license is presumably validated on the server end and this check can’t be avoided by modifying the client.


Plenty! But it’s not something you pay to download. Organizations ranging from large companies, FOSS companies like SuSE/RedHat/Canonical, down to individual contractors develop and often contribute to FOSS in the process.

For example look for “employers” “by lines changed” in



FOSS tends to be paid for beforehand or for support.

RHEL, for example, provides an excellent OS with support.

Godot provides anyone with the ability to make games, but when a big company wants it extended so their game can be better, they pay money upfront, so the Godot team is - for those companies who want more - free as in ‘free speech’, but they also pay for work.

Lastly, for the sake of completeness, there are games which were paid for, and later gained a GPL licence.

People have mentioned ‘donations’, but I’m not sure if that amounts to any real development. Maybe it does, but the so-called ‘donations’ to the Linux foundation aren’t typically charitable, but made by corporations who use Linux to make money, so they’re more similar to Godot than actual charity.




I would say Zrythm for sure (see, (source code available), and arguably Ghost (

What is libre culture?

Libre culture is all about empowering people. While the general philosophy stems greatly from the free software movement, libre culture is much broader and encompasses other aspects of culture such as music, movies, food, technology, etc.

Some beliefs include but aren’t limited to:

  • That copyright should expire after a certain period of time.
  • That knowledge should be available to people, not locked away.
  • That no entity should have unjust control or possession of others.
  • That mass surveillance is about mass control, not justice.
  • That we can all band together to help liberate each other.

Check out this link for more.


I’ve looked into the ways other forums handle rules, and I’ve distilled their policies down into two simple ideas.

  • Please show common courtesy: Let’s make this community one that people want to be a part of.

  • Please keep posts generally on topic

  • No NSFW content

Libre culture is a very very broad topic, and while it’s perfectly okay for a conversation to stray, I do ask that we keep things generally on topic.

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